In addition to numerous educational programs for young people and adults at the Des Moines Art Center, did you know that the Art Center works with six local social service agencies annually to bring art education to at-risk youth? Each year the impact these outreach programs have on young lives is tremendous.
Art Center outreach programs greatly improve the lives of at-risk youth. Sadly, a common perception is that students in these programs are there because of some fault of their own. But the unfortunate reality is that a majority of these students are victims of abuse or neglect. Many are homeless, or suffer from serious poverty which leaves them struggling daily for the most basic of needs. By funding these invaluable programs you improve lives by substituting safety for risk, and hope for despair. You are saying yes to their potential, when most have told them no.
The programs offer strong art education and one-on-one instruction to troubled students each year, thereby instilling skills in the areas of problem solving, anger management, creativity, and communication. The classes and workshops inspire at-risk youth to acknowledge their unique identities, use artistic expression to overcome adversity, and establish a sense of worth.
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The Art Center’s outreach programs coordinator, Tracy Duran, dedicates significant time and energy into assessing our collaborative efforts with social service organizations to ensure the success of our outreach partnerships. Participants in the programs are considered “at-risk” as they are from families characterized by low socio-economic status, or in the most unfortunate cases, the youth have no family at all. These crippling factors bear a direct relationship to low selfimage,
behavioral problems, debilitating shyness, and learning deficiencies. These youth often have been given little opportunity to succeed. But the Art Center’s outreach programs counteract the detriments by providing art education in a safe, nourishing, stimulating environment where students learn confidence and discover their potential.
One example is a 12-year-old who reflected on his time in the program:
"My life changed coming to the Art Center a whole lot. I learned skills that I never knew about. The Art Center has been a coping skill to me to draw and color what’s coming from my head and the emotions that I’m feeling. My quilt has been a great project and [I enjoyed] how the Art Center help me do it and help me to discover a story in the quilt that has happened by using simple objects and some detail. It is a beautiful project."
During this season of giving, will you consider making a contribution to support these meaningful outreach programs? Your generosity directly influences our important work with these students. Truly, every gift increases our impact. For example, the average cost of each outreach visit to the Des Moines Art Center is $10.